Digital marketing is always changing – from new technologies, to social trends, to social trends reacting to the new technologies. B2B marketers and company leaders need to keep an eye on this evolving landscape and test new tools, channels, and approaches.
As we head into 2024, it’s clear the game is changing once more. From the increasing influence of AI to the latest Google algorithm updates, the way we market, connect, and engage is undergoing a seismic shift.
Podcasts are gaining momentum as a powerful tool for thought leadership, video content continues to dominate engagement metrics, and amidst all this technological change, authenticity re-emerges as a key differentiator.
Here are seven major digital marketing trends we think you need to know about as you head into 2024.
7 Biggest Marketing Trends for 2024
1. AI-assisted content comes of age
It’s been over a year since the release of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022. While the large language model (LLM) that powers the product had been around since 2020, it was the release of ChatGPT that really introduced AI-generated content to the marketing world.
Since then, everyone from B2B company leaders to marketers have tried to figure out how to best take advantage of this new technology. While we may still be early in the adoption of AI in the long run, the past year has shed some light on the true strengths and weaknesses of using Generative AI for content marketing.
Many proclaimed AI would now automate content production. The reality has proven a bit more nuanced. Easy-to-use AI tools have made creating generic content much easier, leading to a glut of impersonal informational content that all seems to blend together. AI-generated content tends to all share a lot of similarity in phrasing and organization, making it easy to spot for many readers.
While AI tools like ChatGPT can be wonderful content creation assistants, helping to brainstorm ideas, provide research, or create outlines, they aren’t capable of replacing human content creators.
AI tools are changing the way marketers research and create content, while also making it more important than ever to create meaningful, valuable, and personal content that stands out in the AI-generated noise.
2. More AI integrations into existing tools
While a slew of new startups are seeking to replace existing marketing tools with new, AI-powered versions, the most likely outcome may be the existing heavyweights adopting and integrating AI into their current tools.
We were at HubSpot’s INBOUND conference in September for the unveiling of HubSpot AI, a collection of powerful and easy-to-use AI features across the HubSpot platform.
According to HubSpot’s State of AI Report, over 85% of marketers and sales professionals agree that AI enhances content quality and prospecting efforts. Marketing and sales professionals are curious to start leveraging AI in their current workflows, but may not have the time to experiment with every small new AI tool that may be here today, gone tomorrow.
For the key tools in the modern marketer's toolkit, integrating AI functionality is quickly becoming table stakes as everyone rushes to keep up with the hype. From Salesforce to task management tools such as ClickUp to SEO tools like SEMRush, they’re integrating and advertising AI functionality. We’ll see more of this in 2024 as major software providers race to keep up.
3. User-generated content makes a comeback
Google’s 2023 Helpful Content Updates have been some of the biggest shakeups to SEO since the Panda and Penguin updates almost 10 years ago. One of the early results is a resurgence in the importance of user-generated content sites such as LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, and niche forums.
As Google seeks to handle the flood of AI-generated content, it’s prioritizing sites where real human users gather to provide personal opinions. Many readers are doing the same, as they seek education from real people giving their first-hand experiences instead of generic SEO-optimized AI output. Readers want real stories from real people sharing real expertise.
While no one can predict Google’s future algorithm changes, user-generated content sites have once again become an important content channel for 2024.
Be sure to not only share your company’s content on these sites, but encourage your customers to share their experience as well. Social proof is a critical selling point, so encourage your happy customers to sing your praises on whatever platforms are relevant to your prospects – whether it’s LinkedIn or other social media platforms; review sites like G2, Capterra, and Trustpilot; or forums focused on your industry.
4. AI SEO starts to take off
In 2023, Google released its experimental new AI-powered search engine Search Generative Experience (SGE) to users who opted-in through Search Labs. While the dust has yet to settle on what generative AI means for the search experience, one thing is certain: AI will change search. And it will also change what it means to get found in search.
The question will increasingly change from “how do you get displayed on the first page of search results for a given keyword,” to “how do you get the AI tool to recommend your company, generate your preferred answer, or provide information about your company?”
While we’re not quite there yet, as AI tools grow in popularity, so will strategies for answering this question. To get started, maximize your publishing and brand reach beyond Google or any single platform, sharing content not only to gain more human eyeballs, but to seed potential training data sets for LLMs.
We published an article in June about the future of SEO in an AI world, which explores some potential strategies.
5. Video content grows in importance
You may notice a trend in this list:there’s no denying AI remains the biggest new marketing topic in 2024. But it’s not just about what AI can do – but about what it can’t – that changes the way we sell online.
While video has long been dominated by entertainment, in the past few years it has increasingly become a critical marketing channel, even in B2B. According to HubSpot and Wyzowl, 92% of marketers using video consider it an important part of their strategy, and 83% say video has directly generated leads.
While short-form video such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts has become the new frontier for B2B marketing, it’s important to have an integrated video strategy which tackles multiple lengths across multiple platforms.
If you’re thinking about using AI to scratch this off your list too, we’d recommend against it. The quality isn’t there and can be more off-putting than helpful. The key is taking a human-centered approach, showing the real faces behind your brand and filming real people talking about your product, the problems you solve, and the questions your audience cares about.
6. B2B podcasts and repurposing
Podcasts provide another great channel currently immune to AI competition. Which is great, because the number of new podcasts keeps growing, even in the B2B space. A recent study found that 43% of B2B decision makers listen to business-related podcasts, putting podcasts at a tie with email newsletters, webinars, and social media – with the number expected to grow in coming years.
Don’t think of podcasts only as a lead-generation tool, but as a way to create new networking opportunities by inviting guests or appearing as a guest on others’ podcasts, combining your audience and compounding your social reach. You can create credible new channels for direct promotion, promote your thought leadership, reach new audiences, find investors, and showcase your industry expertise, all of which can lead to new opportunities in a way that can’t be easily quantified.
However, you can use AI and other tools to help repurpose and distribute content from podcasts and video across different channels, such as cutting up clips for social media platforms or transcribing recordings to publish as blog posts. Expect more marketers to shift from focusing only on traditional channels like search and acting more like multi-channel media companies efficiently repurposing core messaging across platforms.
Speaking of podcasts, make sure to check out our in-house produced podcast called "Green New Perspective." Our host Dunja is joined bi-weekly by innovators and experts from around the globe, where they discuss sustainable business practices and innovation.
7. Authenticity becomes more important than ever
A common theme you’ll have noticed throughout this list is how to respond to the changes wrought by Generative AI, and how to best leverage it while standing out and differentiating yourself.
Because AI-assisted content is making it easier to create generic content of all types, it’s more important than ever to cultivate your unique voice and your brand’s unique value, and stand apart. One thing no tool or competitor can do is show the human side of your brand and authentically connect with your audience.
But authentic branding, expressing your unique voice, and promoting internal thought leaders takes work. It can’t be done just by playing with the hottest new tool. It takes patience, planning, and strategy.
We’re seeing brands turn to smart marketing partners to get ahead in this new ecosystem, and get the best out of the company’s subject matter experts — not just extracting knowledge, but expressing it in a distilled way that resonates with their target audience. In other words, authenticity isn’t easy, but it’s more important than ever.
Stay on top of marketing trends and partner with an experienced agency
If you’re looking for a smart partner to point you in the right direction, New Perspective can help. AI tools won’t help if you don’t know what information your customers need to support them in their journey.
All the content you can generate with a click may just disappear into the AI-generated noise without a clear sense of core messaging and strategy. And using the newest tools and tactics to effectively reach your audience is only one piece of the puzzle. You need a strategic ally who listens, responds to your needs, and can develop a plan that gets results.
At New Perspective, our focus is on you. We built a system that allows us to work closely with our client partners, learning everything about your business, target market, and industry.
When you work with our team, you embark on a well-proven strategic process that is all about one essential thing: hitting your goals. To be honest, we’re proud of that. Come see what it’s all about.